TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A small group of administrators and physicians gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony on UT Health Tyler’s new neonatal intensive care unit Friday.

The new medical unit will be located on the 4th floor of the hospital. It will include nine state-of-the-art neonatal beds and equipment needed to provide intensive care for sick infants in East Texas.

With the addition of the NICU, UT Health Tyler will be able to accept transfers from regional hospitals in Athens, Henderson and Jacksonville who previously were sent to Dallas for higher levels of care.

UT Health Tyler’s chief executive officer Vicki Briggs said that the ability to care for babies in the rare event they need neonatal intensive care is very important.

“Our investment of $2.7 million in construction and equipment to provide this level of care is the first step,” Briggs said. “Another key component is the relationship with our obstetricians, pediatricians and neonatologists, along with the dedicated nurses and other caregivers at our family birthplace.”

A team of neonatologists from Millennium Neonatology will be working with UT Health Tyler to provide expert care. They say the ultimate goal is to keep families together after the delivery of a sick newborn.

“We will have the ability to bring infants from our surrounding hospitals and keep almost all
infants together with their parents at UT Health Tyler,” said Dr. Snehal Doshi, chief executive officer of Millennium Neonatology. “No longer will infants routinely have to leave town to get the care they need and deserve.”

Doshi says one out of every 7-10 babies born in the United states is admitted to a NICU, and they can be admitted for a host of different reasons.

“These infants are fragile and sometimes, oftentimes, they’re the sickest patients in any given hospital and they need special medical attention right away. Having a sick child is a frightening time for parents, and knowing what to expect can help them feel less afraid. The addition of a NICU will help ease those tensions for those families right here in East Texas.”

Dr. Snehal Doshi, chief executive officer of Millennium Neonatology

Assistant Chief Nursing Officer Lecia Bowman said UT Health is working with the City of Tyler to donate nine trees to symbolize the nine neonatal beds that they are adding. She said the trees should be planted in early spring.

The NICU is expected to open in fall 2021.